Eight is Enough!

Here at On The Rox, we take our baseball straight up on the rox and the glass is always half full. Let us remind you of that fact as we delve into the Rockies current 8-game losing streak. Sure they’ve lost 8 in row; sure they’ve been swept twice; sure they haven’t won a game since the All-Star break; sure the offense hasn’t had a rally in over a week; and sure the bullpen has been pretty bad–BUT, there are bright spots. And here at On The Rox, it is our job to illuminate that.

STARTING PITCHING AND DEFENSE
Fear not, Rockies fans, despite the 8-game losing streak, there is one
thing that shines through the mess. The Rox have been in every game. 3
of the 8 losses have been by 1 run, 4 have been by 2 runs, and only one
loss was by 3 runs. What does this mean? Well, despite losing, the Rox
ARE playing good baseball. They’ve had stellar starting pitching, in
fact it’s unfortunate that they’ve blown such good pitching during this
stretch. However, this is baseball, the season is a marathon, things
will turn around. And with good pitching and good defense, good things
will happen for these Rox. Don’t let the national media convince you
otherwise. Get out to Coors Field and support our boys.

GO AHEAD, MAKE MY DAY
Clint Barmes has finally managed to find the form he had at the beginning of last season. Over the past week, Barmes is hitting .389 with two HRs, 3 RBI and 1 SB. Barmey was hitting under .200 just a few weeks ago and now has his average up to .218. With Barmes providing some good offense to go with nearly flawless defense, Barmes should provide a spark to Rox offense if he can keep up this hot clip, which he proved he’s capable of carrying for at least 2 months at the beginning of last season.

Nothing epitomized Barmes’ hard-nosed play more than a pinch-hit AB on Saturday. For those who missed it, Omar Quintanilla, getting a rare start, fouled a 1-2 pitch off his shin. A huge knot formed immediately on his shin and Quintanilla was lifted for Barmes. Inheriting a tough count at 1-2, and after sitting on the bench all game, Barmes came in, looked for a breaking pitch off the plate and flung his bat out, flipping a Texas-Leaguer into center for a basehit. But Barmes wasn’t done trying to energize a team in the midst of a long losing streak. He stole second on the first pitch, catching everyone off-guard.

Since then, Barmes has homered in 2 straight games. Go ahead, Clint, make our day.

LAZY BOY MANAGING
Yesterday was the first time all season that Jorge Piedra got the start in centerfield. It was an interesting move by Clint Hurdle, one that lined up perfectly for success. Piedra came up with runners on base nearly every time, but failed to capitalize. Smart move by Hurdle to try and shuffle things up during a losing streak. Here at On The Rox we hope this was just an experiment for now, because we like having that power bat on the bench for late game situations, and the pristine defense of Cory Sullivan in center. If it were up to us, here’s how the line-up would look:

1. 2B J. Carrol (R)
2. CF C. Sullivan (L)
3. LF M. Holliday (R)
4. 1B T. Helton (L)
5. 3B G. Atkins (R)
6. RF B. Hawpe (L)
7. SS C. Barmes (R)
8. C  J. Closser (S) or Y. Torrealba (R)

I think it is important to keep the line-up flip-flopping from right-hander to left-hander, this way in a late game pitching change, you either force the other team to use multiple relief pitchers, or you get a good at least one good match-up.

Also, Helton is a career .349 hitter in the second half of the season. Putting him behind Holliday will only increase his production. Using Sullivan in CF provides the best defensive option, and his bunting skills would help generate more RBI opportunities for Holliday and Helton, should Jamey Carroll reach base to lead off an inning. For those who missed it, Sullivan set a record for most sacrifices in one game earlier this season. Barmes has been one of the best clutch hitters in the Rox line-up, just look at his RBI total. So it makes sense to keep him down in the line-up in a spot where he’ll either be called upon to drive in runs, or start rallies.

Alright Rox fans, keep the faith, here at On The Rox, our glass is always half full.

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